Posted by: sarakroth | November 6, 2012

Aggregator Websites, Apps, and Copyright

Having worked for a small newspaper as a writer and one of its first bloggers, I empathized with the journalists in “Copyright, fair speech, and the public’s right to know” who expressed confusion and anxiety about copyright and fair trade laws on the web. As a relatively new medium, the Internet raises questions about fair use that don’t always apply to print laws. It’s also not always possible to look to a large, reputable online news source for guidance.

The Huffington Post is one of the most prominent examples of this. As “Copyright” states,

“Their biggest concern was with the Huffington Post, a site described by one journalist as ‘brilliantly evil.’ Most interviewees said the Huffington Post seizes the core of their stories and buries the link, leaving viewers without a reason to read the original work.”

Still, The Huffington Post won a Pulitzer prize last year, and it doesn’t seem as if anyone is threatening HuffPo’s power. And now a new app, titled “Summly,” is making headlines for its ability to compress articles into concise 200-word statements better than any app before it. Huffington Post recently reported on this, ironically posing the question: “Therein lies the rub to Summly. Why go to news websites (and see their ads) if all of the most relevant information is on the app?”

Will online copyright law finally make headlines as companies threaten powerful blogs (and their click rates) like the Huffington Post?

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